As I said in this post, for medical reasons (and unfortunately, more have arisen) I have to cut back, so I'll be posting much less often. This is one of those times when I felt compelled to jump in, because this is positive news, something we all need to jolt us out of our constant state of frustration with Washington DC.
It comes via the Los Angeles Times in an article that explores the recent move by Senate Democrats that changed the filibuster rules:
After pushing through one of the most significant rule changes in Senate history, Majority Leader Harry Reid struck a solemn tone: "This is not a time for celebration."
I understand but disagree. In a sense, it is time for celebration. We can celebrate the recent infusion of a few stiffer spines to the Democratic party, as in: not caving on the GOP government shutdown fiasco.
And we can celebrate the Democrats actually acting on their more-than-justified, long overdue resolve to end filibusters against most presidential nominations. Kudos Dems, you threw cold water all over the endless sabotage by Senate Republicans and their incessant obstruction that created a dysfunctional, do-nothing government. Or as I like to call it, Democracy Demolition.
Now it looks like there's more good news in our future:
Next on their agenda is extending the filibuster rule change from presidential appointments to legislation, which would enable the Senate to move on issues including gun control and climate change. [...]
"The Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party definitely are showing that they have growing influence in the caucus, and in government in general," said Matt Wall of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a group that works to promote progressive candidates and issues in Democratic primaries. On Friday, Warren circulated a fundraising letter to supporters on behalf of Merkley and Udall, thanking them for their role in changing the rule.
So yes, there are a few positive outcomes after the years and years of blocking, dirty tricks, and efforts to derail and destroy President Obama and the Democratic agenda. Hopefully, a gobsmacked GOP is getting a taste of things to come.
After years of threats by the Democratic Senate members and deaf ears by the Republicans in that chamber that obstructionism will no longer be tolerated, the Senate voted today to change its rules to prevent the minority party from filibustering any nominations other than those nominated to the Supreme Court.
The change was approved after raised by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). It was voted on and we now have the famed “nuclear option,” which allows a change to Senate rules on votes on Presidential appointments by a simple majority vote.
The 52-48 vote dramatically changes the rules of the Senate and limits the minority party's ability to prevent confirmation of presidential nominees. The only three senators not to vote along party lines were Sens. Carl Levin (Mich.), Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) all Democrats -- at least in declared party affiliation.
This passage will allow all three of President Obama's nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to go forward, as well as his nomination of Rep. Mel Watt to lead a housing regulatory agency.
So, perhaps now the President can get up with his job, and the Senate can get on with theirs.
The Democrats, led by Leader Reid, wasted no time in getting the nomination approved of Patricia Millett to the US Circuit Court in the District of Columbia. One bench vacancy filled, another two to go. Shouldn't be long now.
Harry Reid is laconic at best. Comatose for most of the remainder of time. Fortunately, he's on the cusp of joining "the better late than never" school on the filibuster rules -- or so it seems. From HuffPo:
WASHINGTON -- It's looking more and more likely that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) isn't just ready for filibuster reform, but he's ready to do it this week.
A senior Democratic aide told The Huffington Post on Wednesday that there's "a greater possibility" that Reid will hold a vote this week instead of waiting until after the Senate comes back from recess in December. The proposal that Reid is planning to put on the floor would strip the minority of its ability to filibuster executive and judicial nominees, but wouldn't apply to Supreme Court nominees.
Filling vacancies on that court is a huge priority for the president. It's also his responsibility. It's the Senate's obligation of advise and consent. Instead, the Republicans have chosen to make it pure obstructionism. And that's been going of for five years. If Obama is to rule as the constitution has outlined, we can't have these 60 vote thresholds on every nomination.
Justice is being withheld from functioning as it's supposed to. There are vacancies on judgeships and without them being filled, we're letting innocent people sit in jail and letting guilty people go unpunished. This isn't a philosophical argument. It's one or rights and wrongs. And as long as there's a backlog because of a vacancy, those causing the opennings are contributing to injustice. They are complicit. Is that the law and order GOP thinks is right. If so, they need to go.
Here's the startling facts about the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit,
The court has 11 seats, of which four are filled by GOP-appointed nominees and four are filled by Democrat-appointed nominees. President George W. Bush had five nominees confirmed to the panel during his tenure. By contrast, Obama has only had one.
It's not as if Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats haven't been patient. It's the the Republicans have been irresponsible. If they want to complain, let them. They brought this on themselves, led by Mitch McConnell who pushed off Reid's calling for the Nuclear Option last year with a promise to work with the other side on nominees. He lied, and they haven't.
Push that button, Harry. We've waited long enough.
I'll believe when it happens.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is increasingly focused on the month of July as the time to exercise the so-called “nuclear option” and revisit filibuster reform, and he has privately told top advisers that he’s all but certain to take action if the Senate GOP blocks three upcoming key nominations, a senior Senate Democratic aide familiar with his thinking tells me.
Reid has privately consulted with President Obama on the need to revisit filibuster reform, and the President has told the Majority Leader that he will support the exercising of the nuclear option if Reid opts for it, the aide says, adding that senior Democrats expect the President to publicly push for it as well. “If Senator Reid decides to do something on nominations, the president has said he’ll be there to support him,” the aide says.
Reid is eyeing a change to the rules that would do away with the 60-vote threshold on all judicial and executive branch nominations, the aide says, on the theory that this is a good way to immediately break an important logjam in Washington — without changing the rules when it comes to legislation.
“This would take away the right to filibuster on nominations,” the aide says. “All executive branch and judicial nominations would be subject to majority votes. He would not do it on legislative items.”
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